Following up from the Plenary vote in the European Parliament, a final agreement among Member States was reached in the morning of 29 June, after a 17-hour long Environment Council negotiation.
The text agreed in the Council contains a 100% CO2 emission reduction target in 2035, meaning that all vehicles registered from that date in the EU should be zero-emissions. This confirms the positions already taken by the Commission and the Parliament, making the upcoming trialogue negotiations among the three institutions only a formality (at least as far as this aspect is concerned).
NGVA Europe strongly regrets this very risky decision, as such a policy will de facto make Europe reliant on one single path – that is, electrification – to decarbonize its road transport sector.
At the same time, NGVA Europe welcomes the fact that Member States decided to keep the door partly open to other ways of decarbonizing the EU road transport sector, recognizing that the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) still has a role to play. In particular, the text agreed in the Council contains the following elements:
- the request to the Commission to review this legislation already in 2026 (earlier than what the Commission and the Parliament propose, which is 2028 and 2027 respectively), based on an assessment of progress against the reduction targets, technological developments (including plug-in hybrids) and the importance of a just transition;
- the request to the Commission to make a proposal that would allow to register ICE vehicles after 2035 running exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels.
It is of the utmost importance that the abovementioned elements are eventually included in the final text that will be negotiated in trialogues over the upcoming months. NGVA Europe will then be ready to assist the EU Commission in reviewing the legislation and, most importantly, in designing a post-2035 policy for ICE vehicles running on CO2-neutral fuels. In particular, biomethane must be included in such a category of fuels, as it can even have a negative carbon footprint, depending on the feedstocks and the technology used for its production.